They will never know life without a smartphone. They will assume you can talk to devices. They will care more about the planet than you do. They are today’s kids – the children of Millennials and the younger siblings of Generation Z.
“They” are Generation Alpha.
Coined by research firm McCrindle, the term “Generation Alpha” refers to today’s generation of children who were born starting in the year 2010 – the same year that the iPad was released and Instagram was launched. With almost three million babies born globally every week, by the time all the kids in Gen Alpha are born by 2025 they will comprise the largest generation in history – more than two billion people. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Gen Alpha will change the world.
So how do we understand these 21st century kids?
This weekly newsletter will curate the best news and insights about today’s kids and families, ranging from entertainment and education to technology and trends. Through articles, infographics, and interviews, we will share perspectives about the world of Gen Alpha and what is to come. So let’s begin!
Two of the biggest trends that will define Generation Alpha are that they will be increasingly digital and diverse. Let’s look at the data.
1) There are a LOT of kids in the world
If you look at kids under 14 years old (a bit outside the 10 & under Gen Alpha cohort), there are almost 2 billion kids around the world. That’s 26% of the world’s population! The World Bank has a great data-driven interactive map if you’d like to see it for yourself.
2) There are a LOT of kids on the Internet
A great PwC study on kids and digital media commissioned by one of the leaders in the kidtech industry SuperAwesome found that one out of every three Internet users globally are kids. In fact, kids are driving the growth of the Internet, comprising over 40% of net new Internet users.
3) When it comes to kids in the United States, a LOT of kids are diverse
Demographics is destiny. The United States is a diverse nation and census projections estimate that the country’s population will become a multicultural majority by 2050. However, when it comes to kids, the future is now. A recent study by Brookings highlighted that over 50% of kids under 15 are now diverse (i.e., non-Hispanic white).
4) However, kids content is NOT diverse
For many reasons, while today’s kids are diverse today’s content is not. An annual survey by the University of Wisconsin-Madison on diversity in children’s books highlights the issues. While there is underrepresentation across the board, the widest gap is for the Latinx community that makes up 26% of kids today yet only 5% of books feature Latinx characters.
Tufts University’s Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development runs the Children’s Television (CTV) Project which analyzes children’s media in the United States and keeps a multi-year database with great data visualizations across a range of attributes including gender, ethnicities, and social-emotional traits. Led by professors Dr. Calvin “Chip” Gidney and Julie Dobrow, the CTV Project is a sobering analysis of how today’s kids are being represented (or not) in content. “It’s really important to understand what sort of images children are seeing in this world of wall-to-wall media and multimedia content,” Dobrow said.
As we continue this newsletter series, we’ll regularly cover the trends of digital and diversity and how it will shape Generation Alpha.
Thank you for reading and please let me know of any topics you’d like me to cover, guests to interview and any other feedback! If you enjoyed this newsletter, please subscribe and share it with friends.
Some Information about Kids & Coronavirus
With non-stop coverage of the coronavirus COVID-19, I’d be remiss to not mention it on this inaugural newsletter.
As people focus on everything from getting tested to the stock market crash, perhaps overlooked is the impact on kids. Many schools are being closed and kids and parents alike are increasingly concerned about what happens next. Do kids get sick from this? What’s the latest information for kids? How do you talk to kids about the coronavirus?
Here are some useful links:
- Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019: Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children by the CDC
- Why don’t children seem to get very ill from the coronavirus? by New Scientist
- Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus by the Child Mind Institute.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): How to Talk to Your Child by KidsHealth
- Kids Can Get Covid-19. They Just Don’t Get That Sick by Wired
PS: With schools closing and the focus on social distancing, kids, parents, and educators are going to have to adjust to the new normal of e-learning. One of the best tools is videoconferencing, and many companies around the world use market leader Zoom. However, there is a cost to this service and that would potentially be a huge obstacle for many. So kudos to Zoom CEO Eric Yuan for giving K-12 schools access to Zoom’s videoconferencing tools for free!